Not only Bollywood

Agustina Romero - India


February 14, 2017




I've been wanting to write about the hard things, because it's rarely done. I've been wanting to write about the anger that invades me every time I see the Marathi teacher hitting the students, my students, or how whenever we have lunch man sit while women cook. Yes, this is the culture, but does that sentence make it any easier to experience? What about not being able to walk anywhere without being stared at, gossiped about, judged? My sex and skin colour are not things I've chosen, yet I'm forced to put up with the consequences of being a white foreigner girl every day, every second. My own students often don't respect me because of this and when I ask other teachers why they answer that "this is how the community works". 

I've been wanting to write about all the times I want to cry. To cry of sadness, of anger, to cry because I feel exposed, observed and, most of all, alone. To cry because I feel useless. 

I've been wanting to write about the dinners not understanding a word and the times when you really need someone but find yourself alone, in a room full of people. Because everyone says you learn from everything but sometimes I wonder if this is true and, if so, is all this sadness worth it? 

I've been wanting to talk about my host mum, who was taken away her  first name and given a new one after marriage, or how I'm objectified everyday when people stop me in the street for "one selfie please".

I've been wanting to be vulnerable, because nothing will be solved discussed of understood if I pretend everything is ok and the only problem here is how many chapatis I eat or how I still don't know how to pin a saari. 

I've been wanting to write about the true struggles here, because from the outside it may seem as if life was like Holi everyday and I was having fun and dancing in the colours; but Holi powder can get into your eyes, into your mouth, into your nose to the point where it makes it hard to breathe, and life here is a lot of that too. 

Agustina Romero